|September 19, 2005
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, email@example.com
Nursing faculty and students from California State University, Bakersfield have volunteered to help care for Hurricane Katrina victims on the Gulf Coast, and expect to be deployed following training by the Red Cross.
“We want to take an active role in helping cope with the disaster,” said Marie Farrell, chair of the CSUB nursing department. “We’re working with the Red Cross on training, and once we have undergone the training, we expect to be deployed shortly thereafter.”
She said six nursing faculty members have volunteered, along with 52 junior and senior nursing students. They will begin training for disaster preparedness and nursing preparation for shelter operation on Wednesday (Sept. 21) and conclude their training on Thursday. In addition, Kern County Supervisor Michael Rubio and three of his staff members will undergo training.
John Hardisty, an emergency medical technician who worked in San Diego in disaster preparedness and is now a member of the Bakersfield Fire Department, is the Red Cross instructor for the two days of training.
Farrell said the volunteers will then wait to be deployed. “We will be going for a 12-day stint,” she said. “One day going, one day coming and 10 days there. The Red Cross can't tell us where we’ll be deployed – it could be Louisiana, it could be Mississippi, it could be to Houston – but we’ll be ready when they want us to go.”
The training is scheduled in the Student Union multipurpose room on Wednesday, and in the Icardo Room in the Icardo Center on Thursday.
Wednesday’s training will focus on disaster preparedness and mass care, and Thursday’s will focus on shelter operations.
Because airline seats are in short supply, especially on flights to the Gulf Coast, deployment will likely be by Amtrak or military transport, Farrell said.
Additionally, she said, the university will extend the quarter for the faculty and students who are deployed, allowing them to finish classes in December.
“We’re very excited to be able to help with this enormous disaster, and to represent the university and Bakersfield,” Farrell said.